The 2020-21 NBA season was my first with League Pass. I spent countless hours in my basement watching all 30 teams play. I loved watching every team (because I love watching basketball), but I definitely had favorites. Besides the Bucks and the Spurs, I found myself watching a ton of Hornets basketball. They weren’t super competitive (they had a record of 33-39, and lost to Indiana in the play-in), but they always played in an exciting fashion. Whenever I tuned in to a Hornets game, I was guaranteed an incredible poster from Miles Bridges, a ridiculous pass from LaMelo Ball, or a clutch bucket from Terry Rozier (all to the tune of Eric Collins’s immaculate commentating).
So far this season, the flashy play I’ve fallen in love with has translated to winning basketball.
The Hornets have started off 4-2. They’ve beaten the Pacers in overtime, the Cavaliers, and the Magic, but their biggest win was against the Nets.
Against Brooklyn, the Hornets were up by one heading into the fourth quarter. It looked like the game would go down to the wire, but it didn’t. Charlotte ran KD and company out of the gym, out-scoring them 32 to 17 in the fourth. The most impressive part of that quarter? LaMelo Ball didn’t touch the floor. Instead, it was veteran point guard Ish Smith who took over and led Charlotte to the victory, scoring 11 points and dishing out 4 assists in the fourth quarter alone. Gritty wing Cody Martin also stepped up big late, drawing back-to-back charges that forced James Harden to the bench and scoring 8 points.
Bench players stepping up has been a big story for Charlotte so far. Cody Martin, Ish Smith, and Jalen McDaniels have all contributed to their early success.
Alright. Now that I’ve given some love to the bench mob guys, let’s talk about the man who’s been absolutely BALLING, Miles Emmanuel Bridges.
Across the first six games, Miles is putting up 26 PPG, 8 RPG, and 1.8 SPG while shooting 53% from the field (18 FGA per game) and 39% from three (8 3PA per game). Those are All-Star (maybe even All-Star starter) numbers.
(Not to flex, but I told you guys he was good. I have a whole article where I dive into his game and explain why I think he’s so good. If you haven’t read it, you’re a goofball.)
As good as Miles is, I don’t expect him to play like this all season. Terry Rozier has only played one game so far, and when he returns he’ll take some shots away from Miles.
Regardless of what Miles’s stats look like at the end of the year, he’s showing everybody what I saw while watching him last season. I don’t know what Charlotte’s front office was thinking when they offered him an extension worth just $60 million. He’s smart for declining it because he’s gonna get a lot more this summer.
Overall, the Charlotte Hornets are must-see TV. I think they’re the most exciting team in the league. They only have a few more nationally broadcasted games this season, and you should watch every single one of them. To be honest, it might be worth paying for League Pass just to watch the Hornets.
Ok, that might be a bit of a stretch, but my point is you should be as excited about the Hornets as I am. They’re a blast to watch play, and they’ll only get more fun as their young core develops.
(Happy Halloween everybody!)